Wednesday 22nd November marked a significant day in history for our friends in Bosnia.
It was announced on the news that Ratko Mladic, the ex Bosnian Serb wartime Commander, was jailed for life on 10 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Mladic, dubbed the ‘Butcher of Srebrenica’ was found guilty of such horrific crimes including the ‘Seige of Sarejevo’ during which over 10,000 civilians were murdered by shelling and snipers and the expulsion of hundreds of thousands of non-Serbs. He is most known for his part in the Massacre of 8,000 Muslim men and boys in Srebrenica.
Mladic’s trial was the last major case tried by an International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia after 24 years of work.
24 years later the scars and the trauma of that time persist. And yet, the people of Bosnia are strong and determined. They are warm and they are generous. We have learned so much from our Bosnian friends, their strength and resilience is a testament to a people who have lived through and overcome such unimaginable pain and suffering.
During one of our visits, the group with which we were working asked us to tell the outside world on their behalf that they would prefer not to be seen as weak victims but as a strong and proud people.
It is truly humbling to connect with such deeply resourceful and thoughtful human beings with such a sense of community and support and a capacity for compassion.
Although nothing can eradicate the horrors suffered in Bosnia during 1992 – 1995, we have seen for ourselves the strength of this proud and resilient people as we have had the honour to help them overcome pain and history to forge a new future.
Our program for Bosnia continues.